Thu, 04 Aug 1994

Govt will continue rice price control operation

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta Chapter of the National Logistics Agency (Dolog Jaya) has said that the ongoing market operation aimed at controlling the price of rice will continue until prices returned to normal.

Councilor Abdulgani H. Abdullah, the chairman of the City Council's Commission B on the economy, quoted Dolog Jaya chief Arifin Hidayat as saying that the ongoing operation would last until supply at the city markets remained stable without the agency's help.

"The agency will stop the operation soon after prices in the market return to normal," said Abdulgani, who along with other members of Commission B and Dolog Jaya visited the Cipinang Wholesale Market in East Jakarta on Tuesday.

During a two week market operation, begun on July 16, Dolog Jaya has released around 500 tons of rice a day, or a total of 6,260 tons to the Cipinang Wholesale Market.

Abdulgani said Jakarta needs 2,000 to 3,000 tons of rice every day, 1,800 tons of which are supplied through the Cipinang Market.

Dolog Jaya is expecting 16,000 tons from South Sulawesi and another 3,000 tons from West Java this month, which, in addition to the present stock of 73,141 tons, will be adequate to meet the demand of Jakartans for 46 days.

Demand for rice at the wholesale market remained high and the price was still slightly higher for almost all types of rice than the government ceiling price.

The consumer price of Dolog's normal quality rice at the Cipinang market was Rp 725 (33 U.S. cents) per kilogram, up Rp 25 from last week, but none of the prices of other types of rice exceeded Rp 1,000 as reported earlier.

Wholesaler Robianto of PT. Romerta, who has a yellow cloth banner embossed with "Dolog Jaya Rice, Rp 710 per kilogram" posted in front of his rice stall, said he bought Dolog's normal quality rice at Rp 685 (32 U.S. cents) per kilogram and sold it at Rp 710 to retailers.

Retailers then sold it at Rp 725 per kilogram to consumers.

Robianto said that he bought high quality rice directly from farmers in Karawang, West Java's largest rice supplier, and from another West Java rice producer in Cirebon for Rp 710 per kilogram and sold it to retailers at Rp 780.


Iswadi, another rice wholesaler in the Cipinang market who receives ten tons of rice from Dolog every day, said that compared to last week, demand for rice from retailers had declined by 30 percent this week.

To meet his clients' demand for high quality rice, Iswadi bought it from producers in Karawang and Indramayu, West Java, and Muncul and Pamanukan, East Java.

"I bought it (high quality rice) at Rp 800 and sold it at Rp 820, down Rp 30 from a week ago," he said, adding that he had, until yesterday, sold rice from Indramayu at Rp 790, also down Rp 30 from its selling price four days ago.

When asked whether rice prices would increase again, Iswadi said that it depended on how long the current drought continued.

Rice prices throughout the country have increased due to the drought, forcing the National Logistics Agency to launch a market operation to control the price of the food staple. (arf)